Fears are growing that temperatures will drop further in the face of the current episode of cold, which could cause more damage to production
The production of extra-early fruit in the middle of the Region of Murcia could be considerably reduced due to the frosts that have been occurring in large areas of cultivation during the last two early mornings, according to what the Secretary of Agriculture of the Union of Small Agriculture (UPA) announced yesterday. Antonio Moreno, who estimated that more than 40% of the flowering was affected.
The thermometers reached almost four degrees below zero during the early hours of Tuesday in municipalities such as Cieza, in Vega Alta and in the vicinity of Calasparra, where the largest regional production of stone fruit is concentrated.
In areas of the Altiplano and the Northwest, the records were even lower, with up to 6 and 7 degrees below zero, although this type of extra-early fruit trees are almost non-existent in these areas, Moreno said.
peach and nectarine
The varieties that could be most affected are the extra-early peach and nectarine varieties, as well as a few more apricots and paraguayos.
However, the Secretary of Agriculture of UPA explained that in the farms “thinning is still not being carried out, so there would still be time to save many crops, since there are still many shoots that have already fattened, but They haven’t finished blooming yet.”
Farmers have so far not used the traditional methods to fight against the cold, such as burning paraffin, the generation of artificial micro-rain or the start-up of wind turbines.
“It does not compensate us to burn because, on a large farm, the expense for each morning does not drop below 3,000 or 4,000 euros, since the paraffin has experienced a great rise, so it takes the maximum risk,” explained Antonio Moreno.
However, he insisted that this coming weekend, if the current forecast of “very low” temperatures in Vega Alta is maintained, “we will have no choice but to use ourselves fully to fight what has already become commonplace in these dates”, since “if we want to compete in Europe and bring our products before anyone else, we cannot give up continuing to bet on these extra-early varieties”.
loss of labor
Moreno also said that the losses after these frosts and the uncertainty for the next few days will cause a loss of labor, since the producers will choose not to carry out, for the moment, the thinning work in flower to avoid further damage.
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